AUSTRALIA’S peak farming body has launched its flagship Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The National Farmers Federation program is designed to increase the representation of women in leadership positions in Australian agriculture and achieve the NFF’s goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030.
NFF president Fiona Simson said the organisation was proactively working towards narrowing the gender gap and the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program was instrumental in achieving this.
“International Women’s Day is the opportune time to open applications to our program, which aligns with this year’s theme #BreakTheBias.
“The agriculture sector employs more than 300,000 Australians and it is important we contribute to gender equality,” Ms Simson said.
“Now in its fifth year, the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program boasts an alumni of 41 graduates, who have gone on to pursue high profile and impactful leadership positions and to be change-makers within their community.”
The program matches successful applicants with a mentor to explore leadership goals and strategies.
Australian fencing and yard manufacturer Clipex celebrated International Women’s Day by honouring their Victorian senior solutions specialist Jackie O’Brien in a Facebook post – ‘Meet the woman who is leading the ag industry into safer and easier farming’.
Jackie said she would encourage any employer to involve their employees in the NFF Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.
“I would be interested to find out about it.”
Jackie said she is keen to get involved in personal development and leadership programs to expand her career options. She said she has had to push hard to be recognised for her worth in her business career.
“For the last two years, for example, I was the only female sales rep and not one other sales rep has had to home school and work full-time.”
Jackie is based in Hamilton, Victoria, and although she was born and raised on a sheep and cattle farm in rural Victoria with four siblings, the former knitting teacher, didn’t have a sales background for taking up her job with Clipex Australia.
However, she considers working in shearing sheds and spending her days at saleyards with her father helped shaped her into who she is today.
“I find it very easy to build rapport.
“I never stop saying hello to people and think it’s very important to be actively involved in the community, especially in the country,” Jackie said.
“That’s how small rural communities run.”
Jackie became the first female solutions specialist for Clipex Australia four years ago. And it didn’t take long for her to surpass her colleagues in key sales sales performance indicators and she is now the company’s top performing sales solution specialist in Australia.
Clipex said the mother of three children plays an active role in her local community and has made her mark as an industry expert when it comes to safe cattle and sheep handling and design.
Diversity program mentees meet in Canberra
The NFF said diversity program mentees meet for a two-day retreat in Canberra at the start of the program and again at its completion for graduation. Mentees meet regularly with their mentor and take part in online inspiring speaker webinars throughout the program.
The program is supported by leading agriculture-focussed organisations who have joined with the NFF in committing to make meaningful change towards gender diversity in our sector. Partners report annually on their progress on gender equality.
To apply for the 2023 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program click here. Applications close 17 April.
To connect with a like-minded community click on the Women in Agriculture Leadership Facebook group link.
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